‘Musicians must travel freely’ – ISM on Brexit deal


The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and the FreeMoveCreate campaign have responded to the Brexit deal, warning that the end to freedom of movement ‘will have a major negative impact on the music industry.’

The 585-page draft withdrawal agreement negotiated between the European Union and the United Kingdom confirms that freedom of movement will end after the transition period.

In a statement, Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the ISM – which launched the Save Music campaign last month – said of the outcome: ‘Although not surprised, we are disappointed’.

She added: ‘The ability to travel freely lies at the heart of creating music, and musicians rely on freedom of movement for easy access to work in the EU.’

Warning of the financial implications to musicians, Annetts said: ‘As our report Musicians and Brexit revealed, an end to freedom of movement will have a major negative impact on the music industry, with a third of musicians relying on work in the EU27 for at least half their income.

‘If freedom of movement is to end, the Government must ensure that free movement rights are maintained for musicians, or introduce a two-year multi-entry visa for British musicians working in the EU27.’

Similarly, her response on behalf of FreeMoveCreate – of which she is founder – warned that the end to freedom of movement ‘will impact on key parts of the creative industries, which contributes more than £92bn to our economy. We simply cannot afford it.’

Both ISM and FreeMoveCreate welcomed the clause allowing extension of the transition period. ‘A longer transition period will mean musicians will maintain their current mobility rights for longer,’ Annetts said.

‘We also believe a tolerable final arrangement for the music industry will require a transition period much longer than that currently planned.’

However, both raised concerns about the lack of detail around ‘vital aspects of the final relationship with the EU’ and called on the Government to clarify its position.

‘The Government has said since the summer that it will negotiate a cooperative accord on culture and education with the EU, but has persistently failed to provide details,’ Annetts said.

‘We urge the Government to clarify its intentions on the Cooperative Accord and other aspects of the final relationship affecting the music industry as soon as possible.’